Four days in, and the BBC hasn't even mentioned the biggest bribery scandal in history

No, institutions don’t have a soul. We know that. I’m not an idiot, in case you’re wondering! :wink: But, much as the fiction that corporations are people have an impact on the real world, so does our understanding of institutions. These are bodies that have influence and sway over our lives. And we don’t always get to pick the institutions that we interact with. In this case the BBC is a state run broadcaster and as such, should act in the best interest of the people. The people of the UK pay into this body and it should reflect that, rather than acting only in the interests of the elites classes. When institutions, especially public ones like the BBC, don’t act in the PUBLIC interest, they are not our friend.


I used their contact/feedback form to thank them for shielding the common folk from such disturbing news and protecting the status quo.


Perhaps they put the crack Jimmy Savile investigation team on it? Maybe the story will be published when Unaoil is dead in 50 years?


Leaving the EU could cause a rapid outflux of funds. I suspect that the reason Boris Johnson has come out against the EU is because he will no longer be mayor of London, and apres lui le déluge. If there’s a Labour mayor he’ll blame him for the collapse (look how things went downhill when I left) and if it’s Goldsmith well, it’s still someone else’s problem.


Obviously I didn’t put it particularly well. What I meant about having no soul is that institutions don’t exercise judgement because they don’t have consciousness, despite what we try to attribute to them time and time again. They are not like a body, in which the cells are not sentient, but the whole is. In an institution, the cells are sentient, but the whole is not.

Thus, one should not expect the BBC (or the government) to act in the “interest of the public”, which has 7 billion definitions for 7 billion people. We should expect it to act on the only precept a non-sentient institution can - preservation of itself. To expect otherwise is only going to end in tears.

What we can do, via democracy, for example, is to try and make the preservation dependent on things we want to see. For example, democracy works because for a government to preserve itself, it has to pass a consumer acceptance exam every four years. The BBC’s survival is based on gov’t funding, which is at least partially based on the people’s goodwill towards gov’t funding towards the BBC, so it must produce something that makes people want gov’t to fund it, while not estranging itself from the funding institution itself.

Admittedly, this view of institutions is slightly black and white, but since an institution is practically defined as something that has grown to a point where it is not controlled by a person or people, it cannot make people-type judgements. Like a slime mold composed of thousands of individual cells, all it can do is push and pull towards the highest concentration of institutional sugar, as defined by the rules that surround it in its environment. (And even then, it’s not one thing, its thousands of individual cells, guided into the appearance of a single creature.)

Thus I consider institutions to be like wind or rain. It can greatly affect my life. It’s tempting to anthropomorphize it. We try to channel it into useful outcomes, but I cannot be unhappy with its conduct - it’s only doing what it must. It’s up to us as a society to build the reservoirs, wind-breaks and turbines so that it’s natural behaviour benefits us rather than destroys us.

Anyway, long winded as always - but maybe I’m a bit clearer. And no, I don’t think of anyone as an idiot on this forum, especially those I’m responding to.

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I disagree here… they can act in the public interest, because that’s what the institution was created to do. In this case, it seems to be serving monied interests, not the general public. I’d say talking about a scandal like this should be discussed in the public, by a public institutions like the BBC.

I think that assumes that the human beings who work at the BBC have no agency within the institutions. Someone is making a choice here not to talk about this.

Except that wind and rain are not made up of people, with no ability to control and think through their actions. Institutions are not “natural”, they are man-made, hence they can be directed and changed. The people who make them up can make choices. Someone is making a choice here, and it’s not in the public interest, I’d argue.[quote=“tlwest, post:26, topic:76012”]
And no, I don’t think of anyone as an idiot on this forum, especially those I’m responding to.

Well, good! :wink:


Sure, that’s fair enough - but this still puts it in the realm of a public institution that is meant to inform the public.

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Why not? What amazes me most about the right is that they never seem to have any fucking pride in what they do…


Considering that it’s reported that the family hobnobbed with the nobs, it’s not surprising that the BBC is keeping mum. It would not at all surprise me if there were a Hyper-Injunction in play.

It’s not just the BBC that is keeping quiet, so are the other outlets. I think they are waiting for the other shoe to drop, like who else in the inner circles of power are going to be implicated.


Those places as I picture them sound a lot more like appealing holidays than Ukraine, Zimbabwe, and the United States.*

*All listed as “Countries of Primary Concern” by the U.S. State Department.

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The irony is that when trying to do personal banking (as a non-national) in the UK, the default assumption is that you are an international money launderer. The onus is on the customer to prove otherwise.


Possibly, it wouldn’t be the first time. However hyper-injunctions only apply in England and Wales. That wouldn’t account for the general lack of interest from most international media.

Almost nowhere has covered it, and nowhere at all in any real depth. Not in a conspiracy way in a it’s actually probably not really a big deal sort of way. Certainly there’s nothing to even begin to suggest it’s anything like what this headline suggests it is. At least not at the moment. I suspect it will get reported on.

Uh, what are you smoking…?

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I searched on and no results.

Very true in theory, but it’s interesting - almost everyone I know in a large organization feels that they little functional choice in their actions (except to leave if things are utterly intolerable), but they often ardently believe that everyone above them does have such freedom to “do the right thing”, but just refuses to do so.

And this continues up the hierarchy as far as I can see. I don’t know any CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, but I’m pretty certain that in most cases, we’d see exactly what see below. People trying (and succeeding moderately often) to do the right thing, but frequently trapped by institutional constraints into sub-optimal behaviour.

There’s probably some element of selection bias at work, as a true maverick who does the right thing rarely survives long in such an environment, so you probably get people whose principles are a little more flexible (or realistic, depending on how you look at it) most of the time.

It’s not often you get a Snowden who refuses to recognize his lack of power, says to hell with his colleagues and whatever his family responsibilities, and does what he feels has to be done. I’m certain I wouldn’t have had the same resolve. (And I’m blessed that I’ve never been witness to anything nearly as horrific.)

I suppose that when I look at human beings, I see a lot of reasonably good people, but not a lot of heroes (especially myself). And everything I’ve seen of large institutions indicates that it takes a pretty heroic bent to withstand institutional pressures.

So since I’m not a hero myself, I don’t think it’s entirely fair to expect those around us to be heroic. I expect people to do the best job they can within the bounds of the institution, and that’s usually what I see. But that’s what tempers my expectations of an institution no matter how much they are in theory dedicated to my welfare - including schools, hospitals, police, and government itself. They’ll often try to help because we’ve wisely built incentives to help me, but I certainly don’t expect the individuals within those institutions to do more than institutional restrains allow.


However they can certainly verify the basic story: Three days ago, the homes of some UNAOIL officers in Monaco were raided by police. The Monaco government has stated that this raid is part of a vast corruption scandal with international ramifications involving many foreign companies operating in the oil sector

They can verify this just by reading the official Monaco government statements on the official Monaco government website. They just need to google: [ SFO ] That is less than 30 seconds work to verify.

So there is no reason that they shouldn’t be reporting that Monaco police have raided the homes of senior oil company officers as part of a vast corruption scandal with international ramifications involving many foreign companies operating in the oil sector"

That is:

  1. Undisputed
  2. Easily verified
  3. A massive story with international ramifications

So why aren’t they reporting on it?

– Mac


The usual story they feed everyone is that they’re beholden to the shareholders, which is technically true, but the shareholders don’t exactly feel powerful if you ask them. So it’s really just a circle-jerk of finger-pointing, mostly due to very vague laws allowing shareholders to file suit if they can show that the board of directors engaged in fraud, illegal activities, or were grossly negligent while managing the corporation. Sadly it’s really just the last one that gets exercised and the first two are ignored as long as they “increase shareholder value”. So CEOs say “fuck it” and focus on the next quarter’s results to the exclusion of all else, including morals. Now does this excuse them? Of course not, but it does lead to a certain “cream soul-less assholes rise to the top” effect.

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Unless, of course, you’re rich, in which case the bank falls over itself to help you with that, to the extent of directing you to specialist accountants who will ensure that your funds cannot be identified as having been money laundered.
Meanwhile, credit unions are expected to check that their members, who may have investments of under £100, are not money laundering.


Congratulations to the BBC for maintaining journalistic standards while Cory forgets them.

A) Perhaps Cory forgets what “Exclusive” means.
B) there are no available source materials to report on

Some mention that this story exists might be warranted, and I thank BoingBoing/Cory for bringing it to my attention, but without the secret “leaked documents”, there is little to report.

Some Moroccan company, that no one has ever heard of, is the vector for foreign corruption. Seems plausible, hardly newsworthy.

That major western companies are using this subcontractor to violate their nation’s anti-corruption laws is incredibly newsworthy. Alas, the report is missing the source material, links to it, or even major direct quotes from it, which would be normal, especially for a blog site like Huff-Po that has no tradition of investigative reporting.

So right now, the BBC has little to report on. One would hope that they have their journalists working the story.

BTW, why are the emails not published?

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Le Monde neither:

Something’s fishy…